PRICES GO UP AT THE GATE
Edmond, Alice and Dot scurried into bed; their father Henry not far behind to tuck them in. After pulling the leaf over Dot he kissed her lightly atop the head. Her whiskers twitched as she smiles.
"Happy birthday my dear" said Henry, brushing the fur from her face.
"Thanks papa" she said yawning.
He walked over to Alice and did the same.
"Good night father." said Alice. She kissed him on the cheek. "Remember, on my birthday you promised to let me ride Shakar the tiger"
"Did I?" he said scratching his chin. "Well, I believe the privilege of riding Shakar is completely up to no one else but him, wouldn't you agree?"
"But father you promised and mother says a man who breaks his promises isn't a man at all!"
"Please Alice, let it go." said Edmond rolling over in his bed in the bunk above her. "It is late and I have training in the morning."
"What's the point?" said Alice "I've seen you duel. With your skill even Dot could best you."
"What was that?!" he said, rolling over to peer down at her.
"Blindfolded!" she said snickering. Dot covered her mouth to stop herself from laughing.
"Alright children settle down." said Henry holding back a chuckle of his own. "Edmond's right, it's very late. Time for young mice to sleep."
"But Papa, what about the story?" said Dot.
"Drat!" Edmond muttered under his breath. "I had hoped she'd forgotten."
"Ah, yes, the story." Henry said hesitantly thinking of an excuse. "Tomorrow sweetie, I promise. Papa's very tired."
"But you said that when I was old enough I could hear the story." Dot quivered her bottom lip "And you already promised."
"And a man who breaks his promises isn't a man at all." said their mother peeking her head into the room. She walked over to Henry and kissed him on the cheek. "Go on dear, it's tradition. Besides, It get's better with every telling."
"You spoil her Elizabeth." Henry said with a sigh. He walked to the middle of the room.
"Oh sure, who needs sleep anyway? I can always yawn my enemies to submission." said Edmond climbing out of bed. Alice did the same.
Along with their mother, they lied down next to Dot's bed, turning their attention to Henry who is stood under a glowing flower that illuminates the room from the ceiling. He waved his paw over the flowers petals, casting a spell that gathers it's light around his palm. He motioned his fingers across the floor and the light danced and twirled, forming the shape of a throne room. People became visible inside it, walking. Men clad in Armour lined the walls. A jester juggled spheres in front of a man and woman who appeared to be the king and queen.
"The illusion is much more vivid then I remember." said Elizabeth. "Have you been practicing your magic?"
"Mommy shhhh!" whispered Dot.
"He hasn't even begun." scoffed Edmond.
"Shhhh Edmond!" said Elizabeth with a smile. Edmond rolled his eyes in defeat.
As Henry continued to wriggle his fingers, voices began to emerge from the display. The figures burst into laughter, men and women are dancing, children fought with wooden swords. Everyone was merry; everyone except for the king who sulked in is throne, resting his head on his hand. It was apparent that the king grew more irritated as time passed when suddenly he stood and spoke.
"Enough!" shouted the king. The room fell silent. "I grow tired of these games!"
"Eek!" squealed Dot. "The king, the king sounds just like-" But before Dot could finish she was interrupted by a unified SHHHHH from her two siblings and mother. She pouts, everyone laughed and the scene continued.
"Bring out the witch!" the king shouted. "I'll show you true entertainment!". The people began to chatter among themselves in hushed whisper.
"Yes sire, right away" said a servant. He ran out of view, passing the queen who made her way to her husband's side.
"Please darling not here." she pleads. "Everyone was having such fun. Why ruin the occasion with bloodshed?"
"Oh but darling, should you not be pleased? At last we can cast judgement on the one who robbed us of our precious child."
"But dear, there has yet to be a trail. What will your subjects think of you? What kind of example are you setting for our youngest-"
"Silence woman!" yelled the king as he slaped the her across her face. "I will not be questioned in my domain." The scene stopped as if frozen in time.
Elizabeth and the children looked to Henry who is frowning, his face turned away. She stood and walked beside him, resting her paw on his shoulder. He turned to her and saw her smiling which he returned in kind. She nods and returned to the side of Dots' bed. Henry looked to his children. Edmond and Alice returned his gaze with a faint smile of understanding. Dot lied in bed confused by everyone's reactions. Henry noticed her confused expression and laughed. He turned his attention back to lights and they began to move again.
"Well?!" yelled the king. "Where is she then?!"
"They are bringing her in now your majesty." replied a maid.
The doors to the entrance hall began to open. From the opposite side entered two knights, dragging a women by the wrists towards the kings' direction. The guests recoiled at her dire state: her hand and arms bound in chains, bruises on her legs, hair matted in dirt and blood. The knights droped her in front of the king. She began to rise to her feet.
"Who told you to stand witch?!" the king said, his tone deep. He kicked her across the temple, knocking her to her side. "Pathetic..." he spat on her head. "To think I lost good men trying to capture you. To think THE PRINCE.... my son...". He grit his teeth. The witch laughed.
"I only gave him what he wanted." said the witch struggling to her knees. "Your son came to me seeking power and I delivered. Power to fight a war you started."
"How dare you!" he kicked her again to the nose. She laughed once more while lying on her back.
"I told him the price he would have to pay for such power, and that those he would be indebted too are not to be trifled with." she said breathing heavily. Blood dripped down her forehead. "But he refused to pay. And if what is asked for is not answered..." she stood to her feet "the request changes and a reply of greater cost is taken by force." She grinned.
"Enough!" The king stretched his hand out towards the her and she is quickly surrounded by flames. Her screams echoed throughout the room, even the halls. The guest looked in disgust as her silhouette gradually became more deformed by the second and the smell of burning flesh filled the room. After a full minute the king waved his hand toward the witch extinguishing the flames. She droped to her knees, falling flat; still alive but fading quickly. The king peered around the room. His gaze is met with fear.
"Are you not entertained?!" asked the king. He is met with no reply.
"C-c-cooooow-er-eeer-d" the witch breathed.
"So she lives." he said gesturing a knight to come towards him. "Seems I have neglected a few lessons too many with my court magician. My powers have yet to mature. No matter." he grabed a sword from the knights' hilt."I've always been partial to steel." He walked towards her and laid the flat of the blade atop her shoulder. "I think my subjects will all agree that If I am anything, it is a fair and just king!" he shouted ensuring he caught every ear. "So, I will grant you a final parting message. Speak now or forever hold your peace." he snickered.
"Thank you." the witch said with bated breath, "For my suffering will soon end and I will be at rest. But yours is just beginning. Yes I can see it in your eyes. Like a scared little mouse." her eyes rested on the queen. Her highness's face stricken with fear.
"Wait!" shouts the queen running to her husbands side. "You mustn't. You can't!"
"What has gotten into you woman?!" asked the king shaking her off his arm. "Has this demon possessed you? She takes our boy and you run to her defense?!"
"Please dear this is not the time nor place!" A tear formed in each eye.
"Gaurds restrain my wife! She has fallen under a spell; something I will soon remedy." He pointed his sword back to the dying witch. The gaurds hesitated to move. "Well? I gave an order; obey your king!" The knights moved in at once to grab the queen.
"No! Please you must listen to me!" shouted the queen.
"If I tell you to restrain her, she should not be audible. Do your job's!" The knights riper off a piece of her dress, attempting to gag her.
"We made a deal!" shouted the queen. The knights stopped.
"What?" asked the king turning his full attention to his wife.
"I was a lowly peasant girl and you were the prince!" she cried. "I was in love with you, but I knew that the only way someone of my stature could ever catch your attention is if I was the fairest beauty in a hundred kingdoms. So much so that not even gold or fine jewels would compare."
"No." The king said, dropping his sword as he falls to his knees. "No, no ,no, no..." he turned to the witch; she was smiling.
"So I found her and we made a deal." The queen shook off the knights and walked over to the king. "In exchange for unparalleled beauty I would have to protect her from your armies and assassins; feeding her information about their arrival and tactics."
"Please stop, no more." whispered the king sobbing into his open palms. The queen kneeled down in front of him and took his face into her hands.
"She said If she dies by your hands, not only will her gift be rescinded, but I will transform into the most revolting creature" She wraped her arms around him, holding his head to her shoulder. "So please, my king." she whispered into his ear. "Let this go."
The king pulled back to look at her face. Her lips contradicted her tear filled eyes with a smile. The room, previously silent, began to fill with whispers. The witchs' laughter boomed through the room, almost to a shriek. The king stood and the room falls silent again.
"Well, my king." said the witch "Can you let it go?" she asked, her mouth curling to a grin. The king quickly picked up the sword, rushing to the witch.
"You will not win!" he shouted as he loped off her head. It rolled across the floor, the witches smile plain to see. The king stood in front of the body spilling blood from the neck, his breathing heavy. He dropped the sword. Suddenly a collective gasp fills the room. The king quickly turned to the queen. "Eliza-" He stopped short seeing she is no longer there. A pile of garments lay where she knelt. He walked over to inspect the cloths. While reaching for it he noticed something wriggling beneath. He quickly uncovered the source and is surprised to find a mouse.
"Ghuahh! Mommy" Dot gasped.
TO BE CONTINUED
I enjoyed the story, lts really something different, ls the next part coming soon? =O
livin life like no tomorrow
It's formulating as we speak!.... I mean type... >.>
Sailor Candy Moderator
Year-end cleanup. Closing threads with no activity since 2013.